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Sheriff’s dispatcher under suspicion

GATESVILLE – A member of the Gates County law enforcement team now finds herself on the other side of her profession.

Warrants have been drawn for the arrest of Michelle G. Kehl, 45, of Gatesville. The full-time Gates County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher stands accused of allegedly leaking arrest warrant information.

Officially, Kehl is charged with resist, delay and obstruct, a misdemeanor. The warrant was drawn Friday, but the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald learned she was not arrested as of press time Friday night.

“She had released sensitive information that she acquired due to her position with our 9-1-1 dispatch center in the Sheriff’s office,” Gates County Manager Toby Chappell told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald late Friday afternoon.

Chappell continued, “Due to that release of information, this obstructed Sheriff (Ed) Webb and his deputies in their efforts to serve arrest warrants in Gates County.”

The incident date on Kehl’s arrest warrant was listed as Sept. 4, 2008. When asked if this was the only date that Kehl allegedly leaked the information, Chappell said that possibility has not been ruled out.

“Potentially, this has occurred in other instances, however, Sheriff Webb and other investigating agencies are only pursuing this one charge at this time,” Chappell noted.

Chappell said the investigation has been ongoing since last year.

“We take this very seriously due to the grave nature of this situation,” Chappell stressed. “Her actions could have possibly led to our deputies and other members of the law enforcement community being injured.”

Chappell said Kehl has been employed by Gates County as a telecommunicator since Sept. 23, 2002. She spent the first few years as a part-time employee, moving to full-time status on Jan. 1, 2005.

Upon her arrest, Chappell said Kehl will be suspended, with pay, from her job pending the administrative portion of the investigation.